Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: A Year in Review

I cannot believe that tomorrow is the final day of 2011!  The time flew by so quickly and it is now that time to reflect on the year as a whole.  I'm going to break it down into three categories, with my personal favorite last:  The Goals, The Challenges, The Favorites.


My goals at the beginning of the year was three-fold:  increase reading, writing, and exercising.

Reading:  In 2010, I read a total of 47 books.  In 2011, I read a total of 58 books.  I would definitely say that there has been improvement.  My reading has changed over the last year, reading more graphic novels than I ever have and I am excited to see what 2012 will bring!

Writing:  This past year, I wanted to stay more up-to-date on my reviews and simply spend more time writing in general.  I do believe that I have been keeping up my reviews overall, though you will see many reviews of my 2011 reads appearing in the first couple of months in 2012.  In addition, I was offered the opportunity to do a bit of freelance writing for a local publisher's website, creating my writing to grow in leaps and bounds!  There will definitely be more to come of this in 2012!

Exercising:  This is the one aspect of my overall goals that I feel that I failed miserably at in 2011.  I didn't exercise on a regular basis and will be working to do this in 2012.  I want to lose a bit of weight and be healthier overall, and exercise will be the key to this success!

Overall, two out of three isn't bad!  I will take it and will be looking forward to what 2012 will bring.  Be checking back tomorrow for the 2012 goals and changes coming to Tif Talks Books!


Over the years, I have come to love participating in challenges.  I participated in a number of challenges (nine to be exact) in 2011 and here is a quick recap of the results . . .

Dewey Decimal Challenge:  I had a goal to read a minimum of four non-fiction books throughout the year.  I read a total of five!  Challenge Result:  COMPLETE!  

2011 Fairy Tale Challenge:  This was my personal challenge for the year, hosted right here at Tif Talks Books.  My goal was to reach the Happily Ever After level of 12 books; however, I unfortunately only read five.  There was the option of also watching films, so I do have to wonder if my episodes of Grimm would have counted and helped to complete this challenge?!?  (I will be hosting this one again to redeem myself though!)  Challenge Result:  FAIL!  

100+ Reading Challenge of 2011:  I obviously was shooting for a minimum of 100 books read in 2011.  Sadly, I only read 58.  I did improve from last year, however, and with this in mind, I will be switching challenges this year to better accommodate my personal goals.  Challenge Result:  FAIL!

2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge:  I had hoped to read a total of 50 books for this challenge, but only made it halfway with 25 books.  I will not be participating in this challenge next year, but I will be continuing to read YA.  Challenge Result:  FAIL!

Take a Chance Challenge 3:  I tried my luck on this challenge again this year in the hopes for better results.  I set my expectations lower with the intention of only completing three of the challenges.  Sadly, I only completed one.  I think it is time that I admit that this challenge is not for me!  Challenge Result:  FAIL!

Young Readers Challenge:  I think that I have successfully completed this challenge every year that I have participated.  The goal was to read 12 books this year.  I read 17.  Since this does not seem to be a challenge for me, I will not be continuing with this in 2012.  Challenge Result:  COMPLETE!

Off the Shelf Challenge:  Due to my ridiculous stack of books on my TBR shelf, this was the perfect challenge for me and I had high hopes for it with a goal of reading a minimum of 30 books.  Unfortunately, I only read eight.  Since this little addiction of mine is a true problem, I will be participating in this one again next year with the hopes of having much better results!  Challenge Result:  FAIL!

2011 Graphic Novels Challenge:  I really wanted to read more graphic novels in 2011 and that I did!  I had set my goal at the intermediate level, wanting to read 3-10 novels.  I actually read 21!  I have decided not to participate in this challenge for 2012, but I will continue to read graphic novels.  I have completely fallen for them!  Challenge Result:  COMPLETE!

The Stephen King/Richard Bachman Challenge:  I have been participating in this perpetual challenge for a couple of years, but have decided to discontinue it at this time.  I will always read King, so I really do not need to be challenged to do so!

Overall, I successfully completed a total of three challenges, failed at five, and discontinued one.  I would have liked to have seen better results for some of these, but I'm not going to complain.  I only loosely participate in them anyways!!


Last, but not least, we come to my favorite part of the Year in Review . . . my personal favorite reads of 2011!  This is always so difficult to decide, but alas, I must try to narrow it down at least a bit.  Without further ado, I present to you my personal five favorite reads of the year in alphabetical order by author last name . . .

Who knew that I would fall in love with a book about zombies?!?  Add some bloggers to the mix and a storyline that keeps those pages turning, and you have one of my favorite reads of the year.  I cannot wait to read the final installment of this trilogy in 2012!

Love, love, love this story and I cannot wait for the sequel.  It has vampires, witches, action, and horror in an unique story that had me hooked from the first few pages!

Larson has once again hooked me with one of his narrative non-fiction tales, this time about the rise of Hitler in Nazi Germany.  His brilliant writing will have me picking up every book that he has ever written!

This book took me to a place that I could relate (as it is based in my home state) and reminded me of the beauty found in small towns all across the country.  It's a book that is more than just about a game of basketball, and one that I intend to re-read one day, even despite the number of pages!

I discovered this series this year and have only read the first two, but instantly fell in love.  It is a modern spin on one of my favorites:  fairy tales.  It has action, romance, beautiful artwork, and so much more!  I can't wait to read more of these in 2012!

Honorable Mention

Though this book did not make my top five for the year, I do believe that it still deserves a mention; hence, the Honorable Mention!  The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde is a witty book full of humor and literary connections that was so hard to put down.  Fforde is another that I will be exploring more in 2012!

Now it is your turn!  What were some of your highlights and favorites of 2011?  (Feel free to leave links in the comments for me to visit your lists!)


  1. Don't aren't the only one who didn't do well with their challenges! And congrats on reading more in year before! That's awesome!

  2. Alexia561 ... Thank you! I'm so glad to hear that I was not alone in the challenges (or the lack thereof)! :)

  3. So sorry you failed the Off The Shelf challenge, but you did really well in others.

    This was my year:
    I didn't do very well in the Library challenge, so I'm doing that one again in 2012. My other two challenges were successful though.

    Happy New Year!

  4. I know that feeling! 2011 was a total bust for me. I had such great plans and then pissed my time away on the social networks. :( I'm feeling better about this year though. I began kicking it in gear in October...or was it November? I've already got the momentum going and as good as these challenges look, I am avoiding them all.

    You might have failed on some reading challenges, but this has been a good year for you. You've gotten lots accomplished. Like you said, two out of three isn't bad and remember, you have a career and family. You are one busy woman! (lol)

    Anyway, here's to a great new year!

  5. I finally got my exercising on track … because I got a dog!! It forces me to walk every day. So maybe that would help … HAHA!

    I didn't finish my own challenge either so don't feel bad!

    Wishing you a wonderful 2012 with lots of 5 star reads!

  6. congratulations on your year! I also read many more books in 2011 than in 2010. and I'm aiming at 23 reading challenges in 2012. see my recap:

  7. Tracy ... I'm hoping to do better this year in Off the Shelf! As for you, you did fabulous! Even if you didn't do as well as you had hoped in the library challenge, you still improved from last year! That's something! :) And, by the way, I'm very impressed with your book club!

    365andMe ... Wow! You should be a motivational speaker! You just made me feel so much better! I hope that 2012 goes well for you! If you get a chance, I would love an update on how your writing is going! I've got a few of those goals myself this year!

    Jenners ... Ha! Guess who got a dog for Christmas?!? I'm hoping that this works for me too!! And, I'm so glad to hear that I was not the only one that didn't finish the challenge. Best of luck and reading to you in 2012! Can't wait to hear all about it on your blog!

    wordsandpeace ... Heading over right now to read and comment since I'm behind in my Reader!

  8. Tif, motivational speaking, huh? Maybe if this writing thing doesn't work

    As far as writing goals, I have one. Finish a dang book already! :) I'll get there this year. Swear!

  9. 365andMe ... LOL!! Good luck with your writing! I know it will happen soon! :)


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